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Grateful Dead Live at Boreal Ridge Ski Resort on 1985-08-24

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Grateful Dead Live at Boreal Ridge Ski Resort on 1985-08-24

Topics Live concert

Alabama Getaway-> Greatest Story Ever Told, West L.A. Fadeaway, Minglewood Blues, Friend Of The Devil, Hell In A Bucket-> Don't Ease Me In Feel Like A Stranger-> China Cat Sunflower-> I Know You Rider, He's Gone-> Drums-> Truckin'-> Black Peter-> Around & Around-> Turn On Your Love Light, E: Day Tripper

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Boreal Ridge Ski Resort
Location Donner's Summit, CA

Source Soundboard
Lineage MSC > cdr


Source: MSC > cdr via Paul Scotton encoded by Matt Vernon


Reviewer: Mind Wondrin - favoritefavorite - September 10, 2015
Subject: Infamous Stinker (well, for '85 and for 1st Set)
The truth is in-between.

Billed as "The Highest Dead Concert In The World" (at 7150', it was two years before they played Telluride at 8789'), the show is mythologized as one of the one-star stinkers. Intense heat, winds that kicked up dust clouds, and traffic blocked for hours, the show was tough on the crowd. The band fared poorly with equipment problems and the PA was intermittent for the crowd as well (though unapparent on the SBD). The dirt, sweat, and hot wind, combined with the long, long traffic jam must have turned the clean into bearded wooks. Lots of shows were handled poorly in the 70s/80s by grassroots-mean-wells. In the high-altitude sun guitars go out of tune fast (7k isn't that high unless you're from sea level and in very poor shape. It's low for skiers, and musicians in places like Peru play at twice this elevation). Both sets were during the heat of the day. I remember people at the Red Rocks run (at 6355', FWIW) talking about what a slumblefuck-disaster the show had been and how the band seemed to be laboring (pointing out the dust, Bobby kicking his amp across the stage, Phil cussing, Jer dripping sweat and getting stuck for hours in their car). Nobody traded the tape BITD and I was glad I'd skipped-out.

But nope; this isn't the worst show ever, as has been pointed out (there are many worse shows than this in '94/'95 alone), but it does have one of the worst 1st sets ever. It's actually better than I thought from the legend - in fact there's a classic Dead turn-around in the second set. Part of the fun is that the listening experience is subjective. DorkDuckler (below) says we all saw worse - yet I didn't (though close in 94/95). Cryptical70 notes superb drumming even though they spend half the show out of sync. I like Roebuck's succinct, retroactive warning "I would have hated to bring a first-timer to this show". I enjoy all the opinions for this show (especially those who say it's the worst show ever...and then rate it 3 or 4 stars anyway!).

It's perplexing, though, how some people hear this show and make the gigantic logic-fail that there were no good shows in the mid-80s, when there were amazing shows even less than two weeks later at Red Rocks. Equally, I'm not sure why people like to pretend there weren't bad shows in '66 -'71. There were dozens worse than this in that era as well (but also more musical risk). Moreover, '87 and '90 were top years (both in my top 5 faves). Both Weir and Kreutzmann list Spring '90 as faves. I didn't see a real miff show until '94. '85 was a good year (one of my 10 favorites) and this second set - average for '85 - would have been above average for '94-'95.

First Set. Alabama Getaway comes off fine, albeit with a warm-up vibe. It's as good as the set gets. The play is then shaky with near-consistent amp, monitor and PA problems. There's a spark to West LA Fadeaway that suggests it would have gone over without the electronic difficulties. When Minglewood doesn't gel, combined with the other problems it's a trainwreck. Friend of the Devil = Ouch! Nobody is making the right choices. Obviously the stage monitors are off and they can't hear either each other or themselves. Hell in a Bucket = Yikes! The set has become even worse. Everybody is playing as if they want the others to come to him. Dough Knees is marginally better.

Second Set. After a long break (some say two hours?) they returned with a fine Feel Like a Stranger and then: Dead turnaround magic! Obviously they went somewhere cool, rested, let the crew fix the shit, huddle and hike. Though it could just as often fall apart, here it gets put back together. China Cat is a speed version but it's hard to play/sing at this tempo. When Jer jumps out the band follows. It gets hotter and hotter. One of the frustrating things about 93-95 was sluggish tempos. Well here's a lightning-paced Rider. The drummers are forced to four-on-the-floor which puts them in sync, finally. Jer probably intended just that when he took off so fast. Kreutzmann says in his book that Jer often became annoyed with the Shoes-in-the-Dryer. Sounding more '82-'83-ish, it's skin-of-the-pants like it's about to careen into the mountainside but then skiffs the ridgetop and splits the lone cloud puff. He's Gone is likewise stellar - listen to the boys' interplay behind the solo. A few lead-ins are tentatively tested but it's off to Drums which are '89-ish (i.e. better than yr average '85). The rest is average-to-shaky, returning to slop-city by Around & Around, the drummers again messing everyone up and more equipment problems. Day Tripper is listed as an Encore but you can hear that they go straight into it from Lovelight. It's the last of five and just a throwaway they goofed around with - ostensibly not intending to really nail it.

1st Set:  F
2nd Set: C
Overall = 2 Stars

I Know You Rider - Turning this show around is actually a fine example of the Dead magic
He's Gone - It's cool that in a supposed stinker there's a top version of '85
Drums - Inventive for '85

Now there's a miller.106195 that sounds great.
Reviewer: baily12yes - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 23, 2015
Subject: Boreal Ridge
This was a good show, I don't know why all these people put it down, the drums and space; great. We at a ski lift; people rode to the top then rode down in carts.
Sure some technical problems occured; It was a mecchanics show; We had a flat tire in the parking lot after the show; some guy just came up and changed out tire for us; no charge. We drove up to a rest stop later and met the same guy that had been parked next to us at the show. Incredible'
Reviewer: kneadles1 - favorite - December 16, 2014
Subject: Forgettable, in an unforgettable sort of way
If you know what i mean....
Yours truly was in attendance. All i really remember is it Sounded Terrible. The system was not set up for the place. I mean terrible. They could have played Dark Star>St. Stephen>Not Fade Away>Going Down the Road to end the show and no one would have said it was a great show.

I have some days at work that are just a bit off. But hopefully not that bad, as I'm not a musician. An acupuncturist. And no one wants a bad day from an acupuncturist.

One thing to remember about this show that is great for me. I met my then girlfriend at the show, and she was waiting form me on the lawn stage center with another guy, toasted on ecstasy. They are now married with two wonderful kids, and so am there...even some good things come out of junk like this.
Reviewer: selfimportantdeadhead - favoritefavoritefavorite - December 15, 2014
Subject: for Jerry and Brent fans
Im sorry but Jerry and Brent just kill in this show. Jerrys vocals are typical '85 but his playing is ripping. I like this show. Call me crazy. Great sounding recording too.
Reviewer: clementinescaboose - favoritefavorite - July 23, 2010
Subject: eek!
back end of this is a toilet fest...staaaayyy awaaayyy
Reviewer: DaveScott - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 9, 2009
Subject: One in ten thousand
Strangely enough, this remains one of my favorite shows (lol)!

Although I didn't attend, I LOVE listening to this show with headphones. I really don't understand the poor reviews.

As for my least favorite show, Buckeye Lake 1992 happens to be mine, yet I've heard others say that they truly enjoyed that one. Oh well.

"Goes to show..."
Reviewer: Darrylizer - favoritefavorite - March 17, 2009
Subject: They came, they saw, they... didn't play so well
Well, based on its rep as the worst performance of the eighties I had to listen to this show. It's not the worst show of all time, I think that one might be the 1969 show (can't remember the date) at a highschool, or perhaps one of the stinkers from '95, but this show is indeed a disaster. I believe that technical/mechanical problems were to blame for most of this mess. For instance Bobby had some equipment problems that caused the band to stop several times between songs for several minutes. You can hear the others in the band ask him what's wrong. For whatever reasons the band are just way off and play as though they couldn't hear each other very well so maybe there were monitor issues as well?

This show is remarkable in that it contains the worst Friend of the Devil I've ever heard and there are some other real clunkers. They try to start Truckin' at least three times coming out of Space and eventually it staggers to its feet and shambles along before almost completely falling apart during the jam section. The drummers just seem to lose the beat. Even Drums is a cloudy conflation of flailing rhythms and foggy beats thay rarely gels. He's Gone is just brutal. And yet despite all the problems there are a few gems here. West LA Fadeaway has some nice Jerry guitar and the China/Rider is taken at a blistering tempo almost twice as fast as normal and it smokes! All in all though this show is more amusing than anything else. Everybody has an off performance and considering how well the guys played for much of '85, it's easy to forgive and forget this high altitude debacle. Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile!
Reviewer: cryptical70 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 12, 2009
Subject: The drummers were amazing at Boreal!!!!
No matter how "bad" someone says a Dead show might be, nobody can really blame Mickey and/or Billy. The reason is, even at the most embarassing moments, they seem to be holding their own. There are some other poor shows from '94 and '95 where the Drumz segment is the best thing happening.

Now listen to the Boreal show. From the start, the drummers are really pounding away. In fact, they are really great to listen to. Listen to the drummers, they are on fire.
Reviewer: skullsnroses - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 13, 2008
Subject: daba daba Cal
worth the listen just to hear Brent sing! and some great stories too! thanks ya'll

I think I only still drink and smoke so that someday, just once I can sound that depraved and beautiful. well at least thats what I tell my mother. Here's to you salty dog in the sky. May peace find you all and grow grow grow.

I find this show inspiring for some reason... the human element shining through I guess.
Reviewer: Sarvesh - favoritefavorite - September 6, 2008
Subject: The worst show I actually had fun at.
I had more fun hanging out in the parking lot after the show...luckily we dosed good and were in a giddy mood as it took hours to untangle the parking lot mess. We only drove a few miles and camped in the woods...woke up with a couple of bow-hunters giving us the eye.
Reviewer: elsha - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 25, 2008
Subject: not the worst ever.......
I don't know what the worst ever is but this show has ups and downs. Some of the playing is irradic. However some of it is very interesting. The West L.A. is very trippy but seems to have some horn type sound which could be mechanical issues. The Hell in a Bucket starts out with issues where drums is off with the string section but it eventually tightens up. Stranger starts out disjointed but eventually smokes pretty good.

To TAMEDTURTLE- I have a hard time with people like you. Ya you did say "few" which shows how ignorant you are. I went to like 100 shows in the 90's. There is great stuff there too. For example: RFK 91. The whole band is on and having a great time of it. I can picture you going up to Jerry during Jack-a-roe (where Bruce rips off a solo that has Jerry looking at him and nodding in approval)or Big River or Maggies Farm or during the Help>Slip> Franklins where Jerry is beaming and I can see you trying to stop the band from playing and I can see you telling Jerry to put his guitar down and I can see you saying "Jerry and the Dead, you have to stop playing right now and forget that you are having a ball and playing some awesome music, and forget that everyone watching is stunned and will walk out of here dazed with what they just saw, and forget that in a few minutes you will play a beautiful encore called Baby Blue, and the reason you have to stop is cause its 1991 and you guys suck now and your not making any good music anymore"......ya your a joke and I have a hard time with "heads" like you. UGH......

This show is not that bad. The China Rider is tight........find your moments.......3 stars......
Reviewer: KwasiMojo - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 17, 2008
Subject: A Day In The Dirt W/The Dead
I was at this show. AAA rated--for all of the distressed motorists whose cars that littered the side of I 80 from Kingvale to Boreal Ridge proper--and sure enough, the show was a mechanics special. Im anxious to listen to the archive--the thought of actually seeking out a tape of this show at the time was never even considered.

I remember this much--The August weather was clear and fucking hot, the venue a dust bowl, and the band-despite the technical problems, The Trouble with Bob, and Garcia's apparent desire to punt at every opportunity--as mutinous(sic) as they seemed to be in the moment, remained on deck and went down with the show like the lost sailors they have been known to be.

Hard to identify the worst show ever--photographs of Garcia "playing" his guitar while looking at his shoe/possibly thinking Taco Bell after any typical 1990's show would help in any case--

But it doesn't matter. Shows like Boreal Ridge remind us of 2 important things-

First: Like AAA, the boys would invariably take us to places we might otherwise never consider--whether they be majestic or mundane.

Second: Shows Like Boreal Ridge sefrve to remind us why the killer shows are so killer, and why any of us was willing to endure countless renditions of INSERT YOUR LEAST FAVORITE SONG HERE, or several nights of shitty or marginal shows in order to arrive at a gem/chestnut/homerun whatever. The First Mardi Gras show w/Neville Brothers comes to mind.

A Day In The Dirt is a small price to pay.
Reviewer: DollarBillS - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 18, 2008
Subject: Just a bad Bobby night!
I don't know why this particular show has got such a bad reputation. This is a typical summer '85 board, with warts. Bobby is not happy with his equipment and no one in the band has any patience for him this night! You can hear between songs the other members asking "Weir what are we doing?" and so on. The rest of the band sounds pretty on and coherant, including Garcia.

If you are a fan of Mickey and Billy, this is their night. The tempos are way up the whole show. This may be the best/tightest "Greatest Story" I've heard so far in the '80's. The rest of the Bob tunes suffer because no one cares about his songs when he drops out of the mix. He is pretty much ignored the rest of the show. Jerry, Brent and Phil do what they can. Day Tripper is a trainwreck.

I'm giving this a 4 because in my opinion this show is underrated. The band's performace and this recording are at least average for '85.

Except Bobby, who had a bad night!
Reviewer: Big Randy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 24, 2008
Subject: A Great Time in the Mountains
This was one of the first of the fews shows that I went to in 1985. I drove up with some from friends from Long Beach and we camped out and exchanged war stories, etc. around the campfire well into the night. I don't know about the technical aspects of the show, but it will always stand out in my mind as a great time.
Reviewer: Grateful Jeff - favoritefavorite - December 5, 2007
Subject: My Honest Assessment
After giving this a good, careful listen I would agree with those who said there are many worse shows from 1994 and 1995.

I think the main culprit here is the sound system which, especially in the first set, comes across as very tinny and, no doubt, a factor in the band members not hearing each other. The drums are so out of synch on BUCKET that it is likely they couldn't hear anything properly.

Otherwise, the energy level is moderately okay and not abysmmal, as was the case at so many shows in the last few years and even at times in the late 70s.

So, not a keeper by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely not deserving the title of WORST SHOW EVER!
Reviewer: Alex, Geddy, Neil, Jerry, Bobby, Phil, Brent, Mickey, Billy - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 11, 2007
Subject: judging all of '85 on this show is foolhardy.
yeah, sure guy... keep humping that 5-8-77 tape.. never the same after Keith/Donna left?!
exactly... they played with far more energy/tempo and inspiration with Brent.. but go ahead and listen to some sluggish, near-hr.-long Scarlet>Fire with Donna moaning off-key and Keith passing out playing with one hand.. you've drank piss and sworn off water.

all technical problems aside, this show wasn't the abomination it's made out to be here.
Reviewer: Aging Head - favorite - October 10, 2007
Subject: Boreal RIdge
By this time in the band's evolution I was an Ohio 'head who had been displaced to Davis, CA. I caught the Boreal Ridge Show, which was the first time that I'd heard/seen the Dead since the Spring '78 Tour. Compared to the Dead shows of the late 60's and early, mid, and late (1978) 70's, Boreal Ridge sucked. They weren't in the same league as the band of earlier years. I chalked it up to a bad day only to receive the same series of clunkers at the Berkeley Community Theatre during the Spring of '86. I saw the band again at the Tacoma Dome in the late 80's only to conclude that the band that I'd heard in the late 60's and 70's was only a mere shadow of its former self. Not even close. Had I to do it again, I'd have attended the Vet's Memorial Columbus show in '78 and called it quits. They were never the same after Keith and Donna left.
Reviewer: Funkalicious - favorite - May 21, 2007
Subject: OUCH!!!!
That was painful. Almost as bad as every show from 95!
Reviewer: reddreads - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 11, 2007
Subject: Its not that bad
Doesnt anybody the quote that was on the wall of Winterland?

"They arnt the best at what they do, but there the only people doing what they do."

It really wasnt that bad you guys.
Reviewer: cush212 - favoritefavorite - October 31, 2006
Subject: On top of the rest
I heard Jerry had the flu or something too. Dytripper was indeed the only highlight.
Reviewer: roebuck - favorite - October 22, 2006
Subject: Fairly Hard Suckage
I have been to many dozens of Dead shows, from '72 to the end, and this one takes the prize as the all-around worst. Well, there was that show at SPAC in the late 80's that might be a close contender...

We drove up from San Diego and were made to park in some big lot somewhere and take a shuttlebus to the venue. As others have said, it was hot and dry, and the elevation ("highest Dead show ever") took its toll.

I'll never forget Bobby kicking his amp repeatedly. I remember just sitting there with my friends thinking WTF? Luckily, we were all veteran trippers and Deadheads, and were seeing pretty much a show per week all summer, so we had a good time regardless :-) But I would have hated to bring a first-timer to this show.

Not sure what happened, because I saw some fine shows in '85. But I went to a lot of shows that year, so I was bound to catch a few good 'uns.

I'm not going to download this, even for nostalgia's sake. I just wanted to see the comments to make sure it sucked as bad as I remembered. Yep!

- roebuck
Reviewer: macoil - favoritefavorite - August 31, 2006
Subject: Gillan
this was my 1st Dead show thanks to Rick,kinda looking for Rick now,"friend of the Devil" from Reno.
We stayed the night up off ov 20 close to Boreal,
got up early a.m.,was about 1st car/truck in parking lot,did jungle juice and window paine,was fried by showtime,Rick was Amblanced to Trukee cause he passed out close to stage,but hitched back to boreal in time for last few #`s.
also I think Candy lady was with us,the wind Blew me off the truck after the show out in the parking lot,sprained my rist,too wasted ,1st & only GD show till "The Dead" 06/23/03 mansfield mass.Late Bloomer,own alot ov their music and DVD`s now!
Cape Cod Mass now! Rick-Dave Mac,friend of "Back-Jap"can forget tatoo ov Lady ridding on the tongue ov the Devil tatooed to your shoulder! D.M.
Reviewer: Farllittscyre - favorite - August 12, 2006
Subject: Horror in Berkley
My show memories were of ears popping driving home to the bay,where we found that 2 people we knew had been murdered execution style,car crashes on the freeway,and the afore mentioned technical snafus.Happily,the fence line perimeter consisted of a mile long stretch of caution tape stuck to a buncha traffic cones,which made the show a freebie for lots of us.Glad to forget this one.
Reviewer: mike lee - favoritefavorite - July 12, 2006
Subject: Reality Check
I remember hearing a press conference after this show and someone asked Bobby why his was kicking his amplifier. He responded "It had a demon in it. What would YOU do?" I believe you should hear the dead at their worst (if this indeed is their worst) to fully appreciate them at their best. In the words of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog " . . . Enjoy!"
Mike Lee - Chicago
Reviewer: tamedturtle - favorite - April 21, 2006
Subject: not the worst ever
the sound problems are wretched and the playing is a shade above terrible but only getting worse as the show goes on you listen to alabama and think well its not that great but its not that bad, well keep listening if you dare...but i must say there are many 90s shows that take the cake the 90s were like musical halocaust for the dead they r really painful to listen to(with very very very very very few exceptions did i say few?)

skuzzlebutt haha it seems like we have the same taste in shows ive seen u in some other reviews and ur thinkin just like me

can u be of some assistance and recommend some shows to listen to email me at and let me know if i could be of ne help i will try and thanks
Reviewer: skuzzlebutt - favorite - April 12, 2006
Subject: Bad indeed
This is pretty awful stuff. As the band themselves were the first to admit, some shows they just didn't have it. However, while this may be the worst show of the 80s, I still find it vastly superior to any show from 1995 and quite a few from '94.
Reviewer: Tiny Lights - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 17, 2006
Subject: 2 more pennies
We spent a long, long day at Donner that day. Took FIVE hours just to get out of the parking lot. Heard some were there for 8. But, frankly we didn't care. (Anyone see the jaguar in the Winnebago. Uhh, yea ... a full grown african jaguar. Damdest thing I ever saw at a Dead show.)I don't really remember the music, good or bad. But I know I had a good time with my friends. Falling in love with each other and just being a family. Maybe if it was my only show I would have a different view. But we had already logged Kaiser, BCT, Irvine, Frost, Greek, and Ventura shows that year and the fall Kaiser shows were right around the corner. Oh well, let's go to Reno and gamble.....
Reviewer: MNielz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 7, 2006
Subject: Hotter than Hell
This was show #3 for me. Sixteen years old, I bailed L.A. with a buddy same age: fist full of dollars and a pocket full of smoke. The night before the show we camped up on that hill across the 80 from the resort. We were listening to Dead Set with this Bro who came solo on some classic beat-up chopper. This guy was probably twice our age and an Old School Head. The stories he told had us in both stitches and captivated. Later, we walked up that hill to where some of the earlier arrived heads had set up this Dark Hollow camp scene. I probably delt with the other reviewer who played tunes with his bros up on that hill. There were maybe 200+people up there before it got dark, and by 7Am the Carnival was in full effect.Talk about it gettin' Stranger, my compadre ate his 'chicklets' awful early that morning. We really could'nt tell how many people were there until we came off that hill. HO! This was as big a croud as...well, there was a Sea of people. And, it was 95degrees if not 100. Beautiful girls everywhere, some topless; and the most lack security I've ever seen. They had the lifts running so people could ride that Summer Luge track. What a trip those guys riding that thing! When the boys did finnally key it up, I remember there being a break in the middle of the first set for like what seemed like a lifetime. Altitude they say. The tapers were really edgy, and we were really high. The sound system on this show was weak but the TRIPPER capped it real well . This show lives in infamy for me and several others. This recording makes this show sound a WHOLE LOT BETTER. Speakers were going off and on randomly, and that buzzing sound..Check out the Chula Vista show in September for quality "SATISFying" sound. All in all, All-Time; a winner. (Which, to some, might sound like an All-Time Winner...Two different things.) Some say that this was the worst show ever. Duuuude, I don't know about you! -Neon Rainbows Dripping...Inter-mingle!
Reviewer: rootsman - favorite - December 20, 2005
Subject: Worst Ever?
No, that award goes to Highgate '95. This show is 1a.
Reviewer: David Bolewski - favoritefavoritefavorite - October 28, 2005
Subject: Once in a while you can get shown the light
I cant believe how good this show is in some areas. Feel like a Stanger is all jazzed-up.The sound quality is really good too. Give this show a chance. it might not be as good as most of the 85 shows but you get a chance to hear the songs performed in a different way. If the band could play this well post Brent era?
Reviewer: big swifty - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 13, 2005
Subject: it aint so bad
dont dl anything less then the hi fi version

it was hot, dry, and very high up. the boys seemed pretty forked up and played about the way one would expect. (Healy is a touch out of control with the mix and it shows, especally on good copies).
All that said, this is one of my closet favs for 85, its raw, and unadulterated dead.. for better or worse
Reviewer: stratocaster - favoritefavorite - August 5, 2005
Subject: 08/24/1985
I would have to agree that bad 85 is not worse than bad 95. The elements surrounding the show certainly warrant a bad review and the band certainly had some equipment issues, but the playing ain't "that" bad. China>Rider actually has some great high energy moments, but they definitely are bum-rushing through everything in the second set...

there's a couple of shows worse than this one from summer of 86'...
Reviewer: phil r monic - favorite - July 10, 2005
Subject: I'm Leonard Pinth-Garnell....
Nothing good about it. Dead in a dust bowl. and we paid... actually paid... twice to get in. my roomate and i caravanned from la up with a bunch friends including ol liver below (you were in al's car, right dickie?) when about an hour south of fresno i pulled along side al and said, "you got the tickets?". well we got to borreal and bought the first tickets we saw at 8am. didn't even notice that there wasn't actually a fence keeping people out. ah youth.
anyway, for anyone who was kept awake by what some refer to as "cackling", please accept my heartfelt apology at this time.
Reviewer: liverfenix - favorite - June 30, 2005
Subject: best venue-worst show
the real show was in the woods on the other side of I-80...long live the Marsh Hotel...a few of my buddies and i camped out in an expansive half marsh/half meadow clearing in the middle of nature...this was a definitive deadhead experience for was like a grateful dead 101 convention.i did psychedelics for the first time at this show...still friends with people i met in that meadow. jamming with my buddies, singing in the woods...seeing all those stars... hearing my tripping buddy phil cackling all night long...that's what it's all about.
6 stars for the weekend, 1 star for the show
Reviewer: skwimite - favoritefavoritefavorite - June 7, 2005
Subject: that's it for me
Oddly enough, the SBD sounds better than i would have expected. I've heard plenty worse, but I was so fed up with the band after this show, I only attended 2 more shows after this one. The lack of professionalism reached it's pinnacle that day. I recieved high praise for getting family and friends out of there during lovelight, and beating the miserable traffic. Thanks to this archive,dvd's,dicks picks,etc.,I can hear and see some of what I missed, but the elements of the band that really did it for me, had long since passed. A generational thing probably, but I was done. Amazed they made it another 10 years(sort of), but what an incredible body of work. There WAS nothing like a Grateful Dead concert. I can't really knock this SBD to the degree that most have. It sounds pretty good, and a surprising amount of energy to the performance. I'll give it 3 stars.
Reviewer: Shiva Ho - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 5, 2005
Subject: Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad
I drove all night from Long Beach to get to this show. Mic stand duck tapped to the side of my motorcycle. It was definitely a stretch for everyone being there. It was dusty & hot. Dust devils attacking the stage & the tappers. Sound problems, Bobby kicking his amp for screwing up. Still all in all it was a great time even if the band wasn't having a good time. My audience copy still shines despite the issues everyone seems to think about this show. It was very High Momment in time for me without any help from external forces. I will always remember this one as being very strange in that it was a struggle for alot of folks because of the strange energy/high altitude 7000' of the place & hot sun. I know that if you come from sea level & don't give yourself time to aclimate then you are going to get sick. After relistening to this SB copy I still think it was a great show....I had a great time!
Reviewer: brendanmcauley - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 16, 2004
Subject: hot west la
The highlight of this show is the slinky hot west la that garcia just seems to like from my listen, however I was not there. Interesting comments from others though..huh..the altitude show..? thats funny.. Idid not see my first show until 3-26-87, hartford, which was the opposite of what fans describer.
Go to 3-26-87 , hartford. Geat sound sweeeeeeet show..
Reviewer: ChinaDog - favoritefavorite - July 21, 2004
Subject: not the worst show ever but...
maybe this recording is the worst ever

Ive got a aud copy of the 2nd set on tape Ive had for years that sounds MUCH better than this and that tape is beat to hell
frankly I like it, and if I wasnt trying to be honestly objective Id give this a 3 off the bat and the aud a 4
We can only hope one of the MUCH beter sounding Aud copys surface... sometimes crowd noise and "thickness" is a good thing eh? hehe
Not that its recorded bad but perhaps this show would be done more justice with a good Aud version
Reviewer: DirkDuckler - favoritefavorite - July 8, 2004
Subject: Disappointed...
That this show wasn't worse. From the reviews, I was hoping for a spectacularly bad performance. Lots of problems, overall crappy show, but we've all been to far worse. At least Jerry appears to maintain consciousness throughout the show.

Did get a good laugh out of Bobby, 'We're gonna take a short break and fix some stuff'. Sounded more like they took a short fix and broke some stuff.
Reviewer: BenKarm - favorite - May 31, 2004
Subject: The worst of that era
The altitude, Bobby's equipment problem (plus his sleeveless polo shirt), the dust and Jerry's sour mood lead to a disaster or a show. Alabama was hot but it went bad from there and kept getting worse. Jerry couldn't wait for Bobby to start a song so he went into He's Gone and bailed before any post jam could start. Jerry kept trying to cut Bobby off during Lovelight too. Not even the Day Tripper could save this one. Great venue though. The parking sucked and it took hours to get to Tahoe where some fun could be found.
Reviewer: glenn - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 6, 2004
Subject: Highest Dead show ever
Regardless of the quality of the show, this show was "the highest Dead Show ever" and deserves a good listen.

A lot of people can't deal with altitude,if they haven't acclimated themselves... including roadies and minstrels, and audience alike.

At least Jerrys amp didn't threaten to catch fire like at "that show with the retractable wooden roof that Rooster broke her leg at". My memory fails me this time of night.
Reviewer: pyramid termite - favoritefavorite - May 1, 2004
Subject: Probably not the worst ...
... but certainly not that good. Set 1 shows what happens when a band can't hear each other in the stage monitors - Bobby's amp buzzes nastily in West L.A. and he also manages to step on Jerry's solos a bit. Minglewood's pretty bad. They pull themselves together for FOTD and fall apart during Hell in a Bucket. Not helping matters is a seemingly uninspired and progressively uninterested Jerry and a Phil who can't hear the flailing drummers well enough to lock into them. Brent plays as well as he can, but it's not enough.

Set 2 shows them recovering a little, but they have a tough time getting into any groove together - they try for a jam at the end of He's Gone, but Jerry's already left. Drums and Space are decent - they spend 40 sec. trying to get Truckin' going and the rest of the set is strictly go through the motions music. Day Tripper, however, is pretty bad.

Ah, well, you can't win them all ...
Reviewer: Paxman - favoritefavorite - April 18, 2004
Subject: Worst Ever? Hardly!!
Despite the equipment problems and somewhat lazy performance this is not too bad a show. I witnessed many '90's shows that were far more hideous and lacking in energy (and yet there were pie eyed heads proclaiming the show's greatness). This show doesn't deserve its bad rap, but it doesn't warrant your attention unless you're a completist and need it to complete your collection of '85 shows.
Reviewer: TomP - favorite - April 12, 2004
Subject: definite dog
I was at this. Cool venue, we hiked in from the
back side, no one took our tickets. But the show
was a dog. Most everyone I talked to there had
fun, but it was in spite of the music ! Truly
lackluster. I laughed when I was it was among
the most downloaded, I immediately knew why :-)
As MrCranky would say: "was it really that bad ?"
Reviewer: jeffsetz - favoritefavorite - April 9, 2004
Subject: Not the worst
I was at this show and had a blast. The band certainly had an off day musicwise, but the beautiful sierra surroundings made for a pleasant experience. I saw many shows circa-94/95 that sucked far worse than this gig.
Reviewer: skb archives - favorite - April 7, 2004
Subject: Worst Show Ever?
Try 5/16/
Reviewer: CW - favoritefavorite - April 6, 2004
Subject: Worst Ever??
I can think of MANY shows from the 90's that are worse than this - I mean c'mon Guy!
Reviewer: deadtrail - favorite - April 6, 2004
Subject: Donner's Summit
I was at this show and it was pretty bad. Bugs in the sound system plagued the band prompting Weir at one point to kick his amp. Given the history of the place it's no surprise there was wierd mojo. The trip and slide was kinda fun though!
Reviewer: dividedsky_w - favorite - April 3, 2004
Subject: worst show ever??
thats what they say, ive got to hear this for myself.
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